Rev. Taliaferro "Toliver" Craig

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Rev. Taliaferro "Toliver" Craig's Geni Profile

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Taliaferro "Toliver" Craig, Sr.

Birthdate: (91)
Birthplace: St. George Parrish, Spotsylvania, Virginia
Death: February 5, 1795 (87-95)
Graig's Station, Woodford, Kentucky, USA
Place of Burial: Great Crossing, Scott, Kentucky, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Ricardo Tagliaferro and Jane Craig
Husband of Mary "Polly" Craig
Father of Joyce Jossa Faulconer (Craig); John Hawkins Craig; Taliaferro "Toliver" Craig, Jr.; Rev. Lewis Craig, Rev.; Rev. Elijah Craig and 6 others

Occupation: Baptist minister
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rev. Taliaferro "Toliver" Craig

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA. DAR Ancestor # A027277

Toliver Craig, Sr., first called Taliaferro Craig, (c. 1704-1795) was an 18th-century American frontiersman and militia officer. An early settler and landowner near present-day Lexington, Kentucky, he was one of the defenders of the early fort of Bryan's Station during the American Revolutionary War. It was attacked by the British and Shawnee on August 15, 1782.

Craig and his family were early converts to the Baptist Church in the Colony of Virginia. His sons especially preached their religious views during the 1760s and 1770s. As a young man, his son Rev. Lewis Craig was a Baptist preacher jailed in Fredericksburg, Virginia for preaching without a license from the established Anglican Church, in a case considered important for religious freedom.

Toliver and his sons Lewis and Joseph Craig led 400-600 members of their congregation as "The Travelling Church" into Kentucky in 1781. A younger son, Rev. Elijah Craig, worked with James Madison on state guarantees for religious freedom after the Revolutionary War before following his kin to Kentucky, where he became a successful preacher, educator, and businessman.

Toliver Craig, Jr., became an important landowner in Scott and Logan counties, Kentucky. He was elected as a representative to the Kentucky state legislature.


Sources disagree about the circumstances of Taliiaferro Craig's birth. According to traditional accounts and his own descendants, Taliaferro was the illegitimate son of Ricardo Tagliaferro, an Italian sea captain, and Jane Craig, a young Scottish woman who traveled with him to the Virginia colony. She was pregnant and Tagliaferro never married her. Craig gave birth to a son she named Taliaferro Craig in 1704. His name was later anglicized to Toliver or Tolliver. Jane Craig never married.

Ricardo Tagliaferro was said to have settled in Virginia, where he later married and had a family. He was said to have a brother there, Robert Tagliaferro (or Taliaferro). The Taliaferro families became distinguished in Virginia.

But, this story about Craig's connection to Robert Tagliaferro may not be accurate. The Robert Taliaferro who was the ancestor of the prominent Taliaferro family of Virginia (later anglicized to Toliver or Tolliver), arrived in Virginia from England in the mid-17th century. His ancestors had been in England for some time, with the first serving as a court musician to Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century.

Tolliver Craig became a modest farmer and member of the Virginia militia. In 1730, he married Mary (Polly) Hawkins (descendant of John Hawkins), with whom he would have 12 children. Like most people in Virginia, he and his family were largely illiterate. He was presumed to have decent social standing, as the Hawkins family were prominent in Virginia society at the time.

During the 1760s, Craig and his family embraced the Baptist movement. His sons Elijah, Lewis, and Joseph Craig became Baptist preachers. Elijah and Lewis were jailed in Fredericksburg, Virginia for preaching without a license from the Anglican Church. One account had them defended by Patrick Henry, but other historians call that apocryphal.

Craig and his family moved to Kentucky at the end of the Revolution, where he lived with his wife and younger children at Bryan's Station (present-day Lexington). (His sons Elijah and Lewis led the Traveling Church to Kentucky.) When the fort was attacked by a British Canadian and Shawnee raiding party under Captain William Caldwell and Simon Girty, Craig and his wife Polly, although both were elderly, were some of the more well-known defenders. The 66-year-old Mary "Polly" Craig was reported to have led a group of women outside the fort to fetch water from a spring to quench possible burning arrows. Their courage was honored in 1896 by a DAR memorial near the spring.

Craig later became a prominent landowner, purchasing the David Bryan estate from John Bowman.[5] He donated large amounts of land to the Baptist church. He died in Woodford County, Kentucky in 1795.


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Rev. Taliaferro "Toliver" Craig's Timeline

St. George Parrish, Spotsylvania, Virginia
Age 28
Orange, Virginia
Age 28
Spotsylvania County, Virginia, (Present USA)
Age 32
Spotsylvania, VA, USA
January 17, 1737
Age 33
Orange, Orange County, Virginia, United States
November 15, 1738
Age 34
Spotsylvania, VA, USA
June 11, 1741
Age 37
Spotsylvania Courthouse, Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States
Age 40
Spotsylvania Co., VA
Age 40
Spotsylvania, Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States